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The Discovery of Tangible Music

The Discovery of Tangible Music

I adore music. I love listening to it, I love singing it. I don’t think I necessarily listen to the music that most people listen to, but that doesn’t matter to me. Because of that, though, it will often seem that I am quite ignorant about it. And okay, sure, I am pretty ignorant about a lot of mainstream music, but I have my little niches.

Now, given the fact that I tend to stay in my own little corners when it comes to music, I don’t really go to many concerts. Or any. I have nothing against them, the opportunity has just never arisen. Weeeellll, actually, I go to plenty of musicals and those are kind of concerts for theatre nerds? Anyway…I recently did go to a concert. It was pretty small, but I did enjoy it.

Storytime. Picture this, your Friendly Neighborhood Olivia and her friend Carly ActualMusicQueenTM, casually driving to wherever they’re headed. (In all likelihood Barnes and Noble. The answer is usually Barnes and Noble.) Carly says, “Hey there’s this band I just discovered called The Wrecks, they only have like three songs out but I’m going to play them all for you on repeat, okay?” Thus, it began. A few weeks later she texts me about a concert they’re having, prices are checked, decisions are made, etc, etc.

I got to like the band well enough. Their songs are good and their mascot is a robot, so those are all positives in my book. I wasn’t obsession level, but I was still into it. On the day of the concert I didn’t really know what to expect. Despite being a blatantly introverted person, sometimes I surprise myself, and actually really enjoy high energy, busy, loud situations. A Halloween party I went to once, the tangible “aliveness” of New York City, the all at once energy backstage during a show. And, you know, maybe this shouldn’t really surprise me. I am a person who desires adventure and my favorite moments are the ones in which I feel deliciously, aggressively alive.

But, I felt kind of awkward. I was in a group with a bunch of people who loved this band with all their hearts and souls. I more loved it with my left shoulder blade and couple of ligaments. I really enjoyed their songs, I truly did, I just didn’t know all the band members names or follow them on snapchat or save millions of pictures of them on my phone. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, love what you love, I have listened to the New Albion albums too many times to count and fallen deep down the rabbit hole of their creator’s blog. I cannot judge. (Sidenote: Yes, you probably have no idea what I’m talking about. Yes, that is okay. Yes, go look it up.)

So, there I was in this relatively small, but still tightly packed crowd, feeling a little bit like a fake fan, and the bands began to play. Bands because there were two opening bands, neither of which I’d heard of, both of which were nice to sample. As the bands began to play I found that, for me at least, this was not just an auditory experience. I couldn’t help but watch the musicians themselves. The stage was very low, and I was only about two feet away. As the music was played, the humans onstage disappeared. Suddenly, they were these wild creatures, possessed by sound. It controlled them, moved them in strange ways. The drummer’s face as he beat out rhythms in a world no one else could sense. The singer’s frenzied movements, a microphone becomes a dance partner. The “anything could happen at any moment” sensation, spreading the excitement to the audience. Live music can be more than just music, it can be a tangible, energetic experience, for everyone involved.

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Olivia is a creative human who writes for IDEAS and reads many, many books. Got an idea for a guest blog? Email